The Scouts of Troop 251 — now full-grown adults with Scouts of their own — wanted to host a reunion of their 1981 Sea Base crew.
They read the Bryan on Scouting post about the Philmont crew from Tennessee that re-created a photo taken 34 years earlier, and they wanted to do the same.
But there was one problem.
The guys from Woodward, Okla., couldn’t track down Mike Gill, the Scoutmaster from that trip.
It turns out they wouldn’t need to. The Scoutmaster’s wife, who is something of a social media expert, was separately searching for members of Troop 251 online.
Once they connected, the former Scouts and the Scoutmaster’s wife had an idea: plan a surprise reunion for Gill.
And so they did, reuniting the group nearly 36 years after that life-changing trip.
The trip of their lifetimes
The year was 1981, and the Florida Sea Base was just a year old when Troop 251 made the journey 1,700 miles southeast.
The Scouts had worked for more than two years earning money to fund the trip, primarily by manning concession stands at youth sporting events.
Their efforts paid off — literally. They earned enough to go to Sea Base and to purchase the new bus that got them there. (That bus would continue transporting Scouts to campouts for years to come.)
As for the trip itself, that was a mountaintop experience — albeit one at sea level.
“Scouting offers opportunities we often call mountaintop experiences,” said Doug Cook, one of the Scouts on the trip. “High-adventure memories last a lifetime.”
Derek Ford, another Scout from the trip, shared how the journey had special meaning for a bunch of kids from Oklahoma.
“An adventure like this gave us an experience that would have never been available for ‘latchkey’ children,” he said.
Left to right: Dan Hamilton (deceased), Joe Goodballet, Kenneth Hamilton, Chris Evans, James Hicks, Derek Ford, Doug Cook and Scoutmaster Mike Gill